Friday, January 27, 2006


LESSON 290 from Living with Siva

You Can Make A Difference

Here's a true story to show how effective a timely expression of
appreciation may be. A young man tried the above practice on his rather
gruff employer, whose heart melted when he heard the words, "One of the
things that I appreciate most about you, sir, is your brilliance as an
inventor. You have so much to teach me." After saying that and more, the
youth urged the astonished elder to pass on the voicing of appreciation
to another person. The man sat with his only son that same evening and
awkwardly told him how much he appreciated his many fine qualities. "I
never take time to say such sentimental things," he said, "but rather tend
to keep to myself and be demanding and harsh because of the pressures of
work. But please know that I do love you." The youth began sobbing and
confessed, "Father, thank you so much. You can't imagine how glad and
relieved I am to hear that. I was planning to commit suicide tomorrow
because I thought you didn't care about me any more, or even like me. Now
I won't." You never know how much difference your appreciation will make.

To prepare yourself for this sadhana, stand before a mirror and look at
your face, right into your eyes, and say aloud, as if talking to another
person: "I am grateful to you and appreciate your being in my life." Then
describe to yourself in many sentences all the good you have done during
the past five years. You can jog your memory by reading from your list
of goodness that you made earlier. You will soon see the reflection in
the mirror soften and begin to smile as it absorbs the happy feeling
of your appreciation. Once this art is perfected between you and you,
you can begin to appreciate others in the same way. Don't be shy. No
one is shy when angry. Why be shy when we are happy and lovingly grateful?

There is a brave new world on the horizon for followers of dharma (religion), one
in which we are kindly to each other, trusting and aware of one another's
feelings, a world in which we acknowledge our debt to others and express
our thanksgiving, first in our silent heart and then outwardly. Gratitude
is one of life's richest resources, containing the power to change
people's lives. Its opposite is a disease that erodes all contentment and
fills our life with emptiness and despair. Take heart. These sadhanas
on gratitude and appreciation have worked wonders for many. Yes, each
one of us can make a difference. The world is changing, and we can make
it change for the better, or we can leave it in the hands of those who
make changes for the "badder." It's our choice.

I appreciate you, our reader of Living with Siva, you and other men
and women, boys and girls who are strengthening Hinduism in hundreds
of remote communities, upholding the Sanatana Dharma, being a beacon
light to others on the path. It is you who are inspiring us to produce
this series of books on contemporary Hinduism, giving us so many ideas
and cheering us on. You are making a great difference by simply living
the dharma, aspiring for self-transformation and speaking on these high
principles that are so important to us all and to the future of humanity.

Just a little bit of kindness is so easy to express. Just a little
bit of kindness heals the mind. And in this day and age, when so many
are frustrated, troubled and need a little bit of help, appreciation
and encouragement, your kindness can help. Your criticism, your gossip
about them, hurts them and also hurts yourself. But the kindness that
you express in what you do is healing unto you, too. So, see yourself as
a being that always expresses kindness. What you think about, you become.


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